Chapter 1- Feeling
The sound rent the air and several host club customers shrieked. The china shattered on impact with the floor and all the heads in the room turned in the direction of the disturbance. Haruhi was lying on her front, the tray of empty teacups broken and scattered around where she had fallen.
All at once, Tamaki, Kyouya, Hikaru, Kaoru, Hunny and Mori had leaped across the room to the fallen figure. They knelt down around her and Hikaru pushed her hair back from her face. She was ghostly pale and appeared to be twitching and shaking slightly. Panic flooded them all.
"Haruhi?" Hunny was the first to try calling her name. "Haruhi, can you hear me?"
"Haruhi?" now Hikaru and Kaoru were trying. "Haruhi?"
Still no answer.
"Someone call an ambulance!" Tamaki said to the others loudly. Then, in a quieter voice, he added, "And we also need to clear the patrons out..."
"I'll call the hospital," said Kyouya, already dialling.
"OK then," Tamaki turned to the rest of the room, raising his voice. "I'm afraid we're going to have to close the host club for today! As you can see, I think we have an emergency on our hands..." He gestured to Haruhi over his shoulder. "Hunny, Mori, would you two be so kind as to show these ladies out and give them our sincerest apologies?" His voice and breathing were visibly shaky.
The two hosts stepped up and made their way to the double doors and Tamaki knelt down again. During this time, the twins had been talking to the still unconscious Haruhi, trying to wake her up. Hikaru and his brother were now both wide eyed and worried and their breaths were coming in shudders.
"The ambulance should be here in about fifteen minutes," Kyouya appeared behind Tamaki. "I'm also going to phone my chauffeur..." He walked away again.
"Do you think she's cold?" Kaoru suggested.
"I don't know…" Tamaki murmured in reply.
Hikaru said nothing, but quickly removed his blazer and draped it over Haruhi, who had still not woken, and her shaking was becoming more pronounced.
Kyouya returned again and quietly began picking up the pieces of broken teacups and putting them on the tray. Mori and Hunny came back and silently sat down on the floor with the others. All the while, the Hitachiin brothers and Tamaki were holding Haruhi's hands and talking to her in hushed voices, but eventually something in Hikaru snapped.
"Why are we talking to her? It's obvious she can't hear a word, so what's the point?!" he cried, standing up and staring at the others, his arms moving with his annoyed words.
"Hikaru…" Kaoru stood too, looking a little shocked at his brother's words. "She… she might be able to… to hear us…"
"Well, she hasn't told us she can!" answered Hikaru hotly. "Why should-"
"It's perfectly possible that she can," Kyouya had finished cleaning up the pieces of china and was now standing next to the group- sitting was not his style. "She might be able to hear us but be unable to let us know."
When Hikaru continued to look at him blankly, he added coldly, "Look, we don't know if she can hear us or not, but if she can, then she's not going to like hearing you shouting, is she? You could be scaring her, and it's not exactly helping, is it?"
Hikaru felt as though Kyouya was X-raying him with that penetrating gaze, and glanced back at Kaoru. His twin's face was confused and full of concern. Hikaru wondered if it was for him or for Haruhi, but only briefly, as then he turned on his heel and fled out of the room.
What was that? he wondered as he made it out into the corridor and closed the door behind him. Why did I just… act like… that?
He breathed out hard through his teeth. He couldn't handle this… His temper… His thoughts… Haruhi…
He felt a pang as he thought of Haruhi. She'd just collapsed and he… He couldn't help feeling guilty. Guilty for his explosion just now, and guilty as he remembered what had occurred earlier, just as they- himself, Kaoru and Haruhi that is- had been leaving their final lesson and heading to the third music room. Haruhi had been walking between him and Kaoru, like always, and as they had begun to climb the stairs, she has paused. The twins had asked what was wrong, and she'd complained of a headache. Hikaru had shrugged it off, saying that it was probably just a passing thing. And then they'd all come here, and twenty minutes later… crash.
Hikaru slumped onto the floor in front of the doors and closed his eyes, blinking back wetness which had somehow appeared there. Oh, how he wished and longed to take back those off-hand words. He could have sent her home right then, made sure she got home. Or at the very least, he could have- should have- taken her to the nurse's office for an aspirin. He put his hands on his head and tried to calm himself, taking deep breaths to steady his nerves.
Another few minutes later, the doors behind Hikaru opened and he scrambled up to see that cat-like, golden eyes and soft, strawberry-blonde hair of his brother. Kaoru closed the door behind him before saying quietly, "Hikaru..."
Hikaru couldn't help it, tears began to seep down his face and soon he was in Kaoru's arms, crying. This was unusual for him; crying was not normally what he did in these situations. He would ordinarily probably shout, or act sulky, or both. But once he started, he couldn't stop. The two boys stayed like that for more than a few minutes, before Kaoru said softly into Hikaru's ear, "Hikaru... what is all this about? I'm usually the crier of the family..."
Hikaru pulled away and looked at him.
"I... I just..." he hesitated between gasps and sniffs. "I feel so guilty... Like... it's my fault."
Kaoru looked confused. "How is that possible?"
"Do you remember earlier... when we were on our way here?"
Hikaru recounted the story, telling Kaoru of his fears for Haruhi, his worries about what he'd said, and his anger about all of it, everything.
"Why Haruhi? Why not... why not one of the rest of us?" he implored miserably.
"Hikaru," Kaoru placed his hands on his brother's shoulders, "this is not something we can control. Fate can be so unkind, but that is what we get. And if you remember correctly, we both brushed off the headache as something unimportant, but it's no use blaming ourselves and wishing we could change it, because we can't."
Hikaru blinked. When had Kaoru become such a philosopher?
Kaoru tried a small encouraging smile.
"I know what you're thinking," he said. "How did I come out with something so profound? I've been through a bit recently... Unrequited love, that sort of thing. It made me do a lot of thinking... Are you OK now?"
Kaoru was looking into Hikaru's face, searching carefully for any signs of anything in the older boy.
Hikaru nodded slowly and Kaoru handed him a tissue from his pocket.
"Thanks..." the elder twin wiped his face and nose.
"Come on, we're supposed to go outside," Kaoru grabbed his twin's hand and began to pull him along the corridor. "Kyouya said someone needed to go wait for the ambulance and show them where to go."
Hikaru said nothing as they made their way downstairs. He was digesting this new and, frankly, unexpected information which had come from Kaoru. He had not noticed a thing wrong with his brother. Everything had seemed completely normal in that part of his life. But now it disturbed him. Why had Kaoru not told him about this? Was it that he could not trust Hikaru? They'd told each other everything before...
Or maybe he and Kaoru were simply drifting apart... No longer the one entity they used to be...
Feeling utterly dreadful about having another problem to add to his list, Hikaru stood silently by the road with Kaoru and waited for the ambulance.
When it finally arrived they took the crew u to the third music room.
"He's had a seizure," one of the medics informed them after a few minutes of examination. "He'll wake soon, but we need to take him to hospital."
Haruhi was put on a stretcher, no longer twitching, but completely still, with her eyes closed. Hikaru had to check the rise and fall of her chest to be sure she was still breathing.
The host club followed the medics back down to the ambulance and watched their friend as she was loaded into it.
"Someone needs to ride in the ambulance with the casualty," one of the crew approached the group.
"We'll do it!"
Kaoru had stepped forward, still clutching Hikaru's hand, so that the latter was pulled forward with him. A small wave of surprise ran through the hosts- this behaviour was unusual for him, even in their eyes. Hikaru merely stood there, blinking, as the crew member looked them up and down and nodded.
The two of them jumped into the back of the ambulance and settled on seats. The last thing Hikaru saw was the faces of the others- Tamaki, looking rather put out at not being the one in there with Haruhi, Kyouya, looking cool as ever, talking to one of the medics, Honey, clutching Usa-chan and with his eyebrows raised, and Mori, his visage not betraying a thing about the thoughts behind it- before the door was slammed shut.
For the first five minutes of the journey, the Hitachiin twins sat in silence, watching Haruhi carefully. Watching her steady, slow breathing with the rise and fall of her chest. Up and down, up and down, up and down. Hikaru was the one to break the silence.
"Kaoru..." his brother turned to look at him. "What did you mean earlier... when you said... 'unrequited love'?"
"Oh..." a small blush appeared on Kaoru's face. "That... It... it was nothing r-really, just..."
The end of the sentence hung in the air. Hikaru grabbed it.
"N-nothing... Forget I said anything..." Kaoru looked away.
Hikaru paused, then asked, "Is it someone at Ouran?"
Kaoru nodded, eyes on Haruhi.
"Hikaru... please, just leave it..." Kaoru's eyes looked back to Hikaru, full of tears.
"Is it... Haruhi?"
"I said, DROP IT!"
There was anger in Kaoru's voice now- another surprise.
"Kaoru..." Hikaru blinked furiously, feeling familiar heat at the backs of his eyes. Kaoru was shaking, part anger, part sorrow.
Hikaru decided to voice his fears. "It's just... ever since you said that to me, it's felt so strange..." he said shakily, trying to hold his own against his emotions, "and... I feel like we might be separating out..."
His twin looked at him sharply.
"Aren't... aren't we the same as we used to be?" Hikaru continued. "I feel like there's a wall between us. It's taking you away from me... I don't want that to happen..."
The last part came out as a sob and Hikaru felt arms around him through the haze of tears.
"I don't want that either," Kaoru's breath tickled in his hair and ear.
The pair stayed like that for a while, clinging to each other, until they went over a bump in the road and were jolted apart.
"We'll be fine," said Kaoru, smiling a little. "You're just emotional right now because of Haruhi..."
Just then, the ambulance stopped and they heard voices outside.
"Looks like we're here," the younger twin glanced again at Haruhi. "We need to stay with her. If she wakes up with only doctors around- or even alone- she'll be terrified."
Haruhi was placed on a gurney and the two redheads each took one of her small hands and began to walk along with their friend. The movement through the corridors seemed to stir her. Her eyelids fluttered open as they all entered the lift and the doors closed. Both the twins lowered their heads to comfort her.
"Don't say anything," they whispered. "You're in hospital; you had a seizure..."
The small figure did not argue, but they both felt her grip on their hands tighten somewhat, and they heard her breathing begin to shake a little.
Haruhi was wheeled off somewhere and the twins were no longer allowed to follow her, and so they sank onto some of the hard, orange, plastic seats in the waiting room, not saying a word. Why did hospitals always have that... hospital smell? It was something about the smell and atmosphere which made them unwilling to talk, even to one another. Hikaru also still felt that barrier, that feeling that he and Kaoru weren't the same as they'd always been.
After ten minutes, the double doors at one end of the room opened.
"We got stuck in traffic," explained Hunny to the twins as the rest of the club arrived and sat down with them. "How's Haru-chan?"
The twins merely shrugged.
"Hang on..." Tamaki was looking unusually pensive. "Do they still think that Haruhi is a guy?"
"No, I explained to the ambulance crew," answered Kyouya, producing his notebook. "They won't ask questions."
There was a short silence before Mori asked, "And what about her father?"
"I already called him," explained the raven-haired host, now scribbling things down in the notebook. "He said he'd be here as soon as he could."
"So that means we just...?" Tamaki's question trailed and Kyouya nodded.
"Just sit and wait. It's all we can do."
An hour passed, one of the longest of their lives, in which very few words were exchanged and many sighs were heard. At long last, the double doors opened again, and a doctor emerged, carrying a clipboard, and approached the group, all of whom rose from their seats.
"Good evening. I'm doctor Nakamura. I'll be the one taking care of your friend," he explained. When they all stared at him with bated breath, he added, "She's resting in her room now."
They all exhaled simultaneously, six identical sighs of relief, and doctor Nakamura continued, "She's had some tests done so that we can determine what is wrong with her."
"Can we see her?" asked Hunny eagerly.
"Are any of you in her immediate family?"
They all shook their heads.
"Then I'm afraid I can't let you do that."
"Doctor," Kyouya stepped forward and looked at the man. "I don't believe I introduced myself. I'm-"
"Master Ohtori!" the doctor was suddenly highly flustered; he bowed quickly.
"Ah, good, you know who I am... Is there absolutely no possibility of us seeing our friend?"
"Oh... well... ah..." Doctor Nakamura looked at them all. "Well... alright. Follow me."
He led them through the doors and along a few corridors to a small collection of single rooms.
"In here," he said, pushing open the door at the far end. "Miss Fujioka, you have some friends to visit..."
They all walked in and took in their surroundings. The room was a good size, with an airy feel and a large window, through which the sky could be seen. The walls were a soft blue, with a darker blue carpet. More like a hotel, it even had a sofa and coffee table by the window. Relief washed over their faces again as they saw a rather tired-looking but smiling Haruhi in the bed.
"Hi," she greeted the group, leaning forward to talk to them.
"Miss Fujioka, you really shouldn't sit up like that," the doctor moved to her side. "Please, just lie back and try to rest." He put a hand on her shoulder and gently pushed, but Haruhi resisted.
"I told you, I feel fine now," she replied. "I don't want to be here; I'm a burden on you."
"Miss Fujioka, I must insist."
"I'd go now if you'd let me," she grumbled uncharacteristically, but lay back obediently. "I have to stay here for a few days for observation," she explained to her visitors.
"And she's not happy about it," added Doctor Nakamura, writing something on his clipboard. "I'll leave you all. Miss Fujioka, if you need anything-"
"I'll ring the bell," she finished wearily.
The doctor left the room and silence fell.
"How do you feel, Haru-chan?" Hunny stepped up to her side, head tilted to one side and Usa-chan clutched in his arms as usual.
"I feel fine, I'm just annoyed because they won't let me go yet," she replied, smiling at Hunny. "I really need to get home. The flat needs tidying, and I have so much homework, and I need to make dinner before dad gets-"
She stopped and gasped, sitting up again.
"Ah, dad!" she exclaimed, hands clapped over her mouth. "Where is he? Is he here? Does he know what happened?"
"Yes, relax, Kyouya phoned him," Tamaki went to her other side. "He'll be here soon. Please stop getting worked up and lie back. You don't want another seizure do you?"
Haruhi frowned but did as he asked.
"So..." she seemed to be searching for something to talk about. "What happened after I passed out?"
The seven of them made small conversation, which soon became normal chat. They were all sitting around her on the bed when Ranka arrived.
"The rest of you will have to leave, I'm afraid," the nurse told them.
They said their goodbyes, promising to come visit their friend again tomorrow, and left.
Outside the hospital, the male hosts all called their various drivers. Hikaru shivered and realised he'd left his blazer with Haruhi. When Kaoru looked at him quizzically, he explained and they went back inside, waving to the others as they all waited.
Back at Haruhi's room, the door had been left ajar, and the twins could hear Haruhi talking to her father.
"... to worry, dad. I'm fine, really," they heard her mutter.
"I know you're fine now, but I just..." Ranka's voice paused and Hikaru and Kaoru could hear the hesitation in the tone. "I just can't help but think of your mother."
There was another pause, and the Hitachiins could almost see Haruhi's expression before she quietly answered, "Dad, I'll be fine."
"That's exactly what she said," replied Ranka. "She was exactly the same about hospitals too. She didn't like being in them because she thought she was taking up bed space for someone more in need of it."
Haruhi said nothing in response to this, but the twins heard movement on the bed and knew that the pair were hugging.
"I don't want to lose you like I lost her," they heard the choked words and felt tears spring to their own eyes.
"You won't," Haruhi seemed to be crying too, and the brothers gazed at each other.
"Come on," murmured Hikaru. "I have other blazers at home."
The two identical boys left, holding each other's hand. This was not a moment to interrupt with such small matters as garments.